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Mothership - High Strangeness album art

High Strangeness

17th March 2017 – Ripple Music

01. High Strangeness
02. Ride The Sun
03. Midnight Express
04. Crown Of Lies
05. Helter Skelter
06. Eternal Trip
07. Wise Man
08. Speed Dealer

High Strangeness marks the third full-length release from American stoner three-piece Mothership, and sees them carry on their modern take on the classic rock sound of ands such as ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin. Displaying a variety of headbang-inducing fuzzy guitar riffs and an exquisite balance between heaviness and melody, the Juett brothers (Kyle on bass, Kells on guitar) and drummer Judge Smith combine with immediate effect on this record.

First track proper “Ride The Sun” showcases a catchy main guitar riff which invites the listener’s focus from the off. The hypnotic vocal tone seems to flow in and amongst the instruments, and demonstrates just how retro this band can sound. Kells launches into an exhilarating guitar solo near the end of the song while Kyle backs this up by a rumbling bass line and an undeniable groove certain to make your head bang.

The differing changes of pace at various points of “Crown Of Lies” create a mindworm for the listener. Slowing during the chorus to accentuate Kyle’s vocals, then quickening halfway through as it leads to an instrumental passage full of technicality and swagger, it’s arguably the highlight of the record, with by far the most accessible and distinctive guitar riff running throughout.

Helter Skelter” continues the catchiness with another decent riff from the outset and an overall upbeat personality with an incredibly 70s feel to it, while “Eternal Trip” is a peaceful instrumental track, slowing the pace down with a clean lead guitar before six-minute-plus closing track “Speed Dealer” quickens it back up. Kyle’s vocals take a bit of a back seat as the raucous beat of Judge Smith’s drums and tantalising fretwork action from Kells takes centre stage for the majority of the largely instrumental track.

Mothership have gone on record stating that the album was written and recorded in a mere 15 days while on tour. Judging by the eight tracks on offer (two of which are instrumental) and fairly meagre 33-minute running time, one can’t help think they could have taken a little longer to add another track or three to really flesh out the LP – but with all said and done, while High Strangeness fails to break any new ground, it’s great to hear how a distinctly retro-sounding band can mix things up to sound relatively fresh – and what they do, they do very well.